Small Business Planning
The process of developing a strategic business plan for your small business is probably one of the most beneficial processes you can go through. This is true despite the fact that many entrepreneurs believe that it is an unproductive task. Of course, some of this negativity is based on the presentation of business in the media in which the idea of creating a strategic business is depicted as unhip, “old school” model for creating business growth. Given their unprecedented success of many online businesses, particularly in the social media sphere, the idea of pushing forward without a clear outline might seem appealing. Most of us; however, have a much more serious attitude about making money than has been seen by some “wildly successful” startups and that makes developing a strategic business plan an excellent idea.
The process of creating a strategic business plan is about thinking through your idea and then being able to clearly and articulately share those thoughts with others. Whether you decide to go the traditional route of writing a lengthy written document complete with executive summary, appendixes and accompanying charts and figures or go for a more simplified version, the point of the strategic business plan is to get something concrete on paper to help you organize the details and processes needed.
One of the things that a strategic business plan can help you decide is whether or not your business model will work. This can save you a huge amount of time and energy, although, if you decide your idea is not worth pursuing, this may seem disheartening. Most small business owners find that process of writing a strategic business plan helps them to create a better business. The strategic business plan gives them the opportunity to think it all through and to see more options than they could simply by starting their business without one.
A strategic small business plan can help you flush out the answers to such basic questions as what is your principal revenue stream.
Who are your customers and supporters and how do you attract them? When will you reach a breakeven point? By laying these things out, a sizable amount of time and energy can be saved through the elimination of dead-ends, wrong turns and head on collisions.
Objectivity is an essential component of creating a strategic business plan. You can’t rely on your own opinion or even those of your friends. To create a strategic business plan, you need research and statistics and careful analysis. You also need to add real world input by gathering information from people working in your industry or who have similar product or business. The human component is invaluable in providing insight, advice and even potential customers and contacts.
One of the most beneficial ways to get your ideas out there is by creating conversation. Ultimately, you are going to want to be able to make a presentation of the strategic business plan using only a few visuals and a small product demonstration. This will your natural interest and enthusiasm shine through. Of course, since there are concrete numbers and potential money involved you are going to want to include some of this in your “conversation”. Just make sure that you avoid getting so bogged down in the details that you bore or overwhelm your audience. What you want to do is to get them as excited about what you are doing as you are. The most important part of a strategic business plan is being able to articulate it both to yourself and to others so use as the grounds from which you can come up with a solid elevator pitch.